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Pandemic Forces Halt to Construction of 975-Student International Boarding School in Pasadena

EF Academy was to have opened this fall

Published on Friday, July 31, 2020 | 10:09 am
A scene from an earlier phase in the construction of E.F. Academy, a new international boarding school on the site of the former 16-acre William Carey University in north central Pasadena. Courtesy photo.

A large-scale renovation and construction project at the site of what will soon be the EF Academy has been brought to a halt by the ongoing pandemic, pushing the planned opening of the 975-student international boarding school back a year to September of 2021, representatives said.

The school, operated by Swiss company Education First, was initially hoping to welcome its first students to its campus, 1539 E. Howard Street, this year. Renovations, including the construction of a new dormitory, were begun at the former site of the William Carey International University. But then came COVID-19.

“Despite the tremendous progress we’ve made with the project since the groundbreaking last September, unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, EF’s campus construction is currently on hold,” Education First Vice President Shawna Marino said.

Construction work was first paused in April due to safety concerns raised by the pandemic, she said.

“However, as the effects of the pandemic have been realized around the world, EF had to make the difficult decision to delay the school’s opening by one year until September 2021,” she said. “This is mainly due to current international travel/visa restrictions and the subsequent impact on our school’s enrollment and operations.”

The company hoped to resume work on the site by the end of the year, Marino said. In the meantime, all buildings have been secured and weatherproofed, on the campus’ trees and plants are being maintained.

“As always, we are extremely appreciative of the community’s overwhelming support of our efforts to redevelop the former William Carey International University into a state-of-the-art international high school,” Marino said.

“Although the pandemic has certainly disrupted our short-term plans, we are confident in the future of international education and global travel, and we are excited for EF Academy to contribute to the Pasadena community for years to come.“

Those with questions were urged to contact Education First at

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